When you enter business school, you should focus on your post university life and think about how, four years on, you would compete with your peers for jobs or with other entrepreneurs to start your own business. Acing your courses is no longer sufficient to excel at university. These four years of undergrad should be spent on networking and building your resume.”
Your first step should be determining the aspect of business you want to specialize in. There are many fields of business for example, Finance, Entrepreneurship , Human Resource, etc. to choose from. In your senior years, you will be able to select your courses and narrow your field of specialization. A number of factors should be considered while determining this, like your interest and personality, along with the opportunities available. Research to ascertain where there is more scope for growth, which field or country is attracting more capital and investment and how the job market is evolving.
The next step is to build your competitive advantage. There are several ways you can do this:
- Co-op Experience
The Co-op experience gives you a competitive advantage because upon graduation, you have hands-on experience in your field as well as connections with at least 2-3 employers whom you can use as references. These connections with management can also help secure a job and might deem the Human Resources screening process unnecessary. This also gets you introduced to managers and department heads that you can get in touch with while looking for a job.
- Expand your Circle
Expanding your social circle is key. You need to know people beyond your friends from class. Over your fouryears at university, one of your goals should be to build industry contacts, because in time this will open new doors for you. Initially, you can work with professors on various projects and attend as many industry conferences as possible. Also, you could participate in business plan competitions and make connections with corporate sponsors. Meanwhile, find out which departments of the university have connections with companies you would like to work for and get involved in their projects and events. It is always beneficial to take an executive position in student government as it enhances your resume while expanding your connections with top university officials.
- Expand your Horizon and Knowledge
You need to gather knowledge of the real world beyond theories and textbooks. Start reading newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal or The Financial Times to explore where opportunities lie. You can also download annual reports of the Fortune 500 companies and analyze their financial statements. Other recommended reading materials include:
- Annual Shareholder Letters of Berkshire Hathaway by Warren Buffett. You can learn how Warren Buffett, a prominent investor, make his investment decisions.
- Watch interviews of investors and entrepreneurs such as George Soros, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs etc. to learn ideas on management, innovations and investing.
- The Intelligent Investor by Warren Buffett (investment)
- Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch (management)
- The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros (investment) The knowledge you gain from your various experiences will help you secure a job in your desired company or field. The employers will see your commitment to pursue a particular career through your involvement in various activities as well as your academic achievements.
The post is originally written by Queen Elizabeth Academy – Tutoring Mississauga.